I miss you.

my beautiful friend.

In August, I lost a very close childhood friend. And even though I believed writing about her would be impossible, I have finally mustered up the strength to able to explain what grief feels like.

The day I received the news, I was walking around the neighborhood with my mom— as we have habitually been doing this year. My mom was eager to show me a new path she discovered the day before. I turned off my phone and disconnected from any outside communication. And after having explored a short but pleasant trail, we emerged from the densely forested area and I pulled out my phone. A long lost friend had texted me urgently, called, and left a voicemail that I quickly deleted after listening to it. This was bad. I felt it in my gut and instantly knew who it was about.

I called her back and she, as composed as she could ever possibly have been, broke the news. “Terrible news… this morning…She’s gone.”

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How are YOU doing?

Jeez… what a year, amirite? We are resilient as hell. But in this world of high stress, feeling of endless hopelessness, and constant exhaustion, I wanted to share with you a method of coping that is attainable to most people. Because even in this burning world, we can find pockets of beauty and humanity.

My mom’s hands during a hike. Shot with film.

Sometime in March, when the pandemic was in full force in the US and we were required to quarantine, I made a promise to myself – I would be more physically active. There wasn’t much to do and every screen I encountered would induce panic and stress, with its frightening COVID statistics and constant doom and gloom. So, after a few weeks of panic of not knowing if the virus was simply everywhere, I began to build a routine to help me stay sane. I pulled out my FitBit that I had received for Christmas and I set some goals: 10,000 steps per day (pre-pandemic I would walk about 7,000 on a good day), more veggies and fruits, sleep right, and every other day watch some work out videos. My gym was closed, for God knew how long, and at that time all restaurants were closed as well. Eating healthy wasn’t difficult as I was *forced* to eat my moms delicious food (if any of you know my mom, she’s the best cook ever).

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8 minutes and 46 seconds

Floyd: “I can’t breath, my face… Just get up.” More labored breathing.

Chauvin, visibly annoyed, responds: “What do you want?”

Floyd insists more loudly: “I can’t breath! Please, your knee in my neck.”

Minutes pass

Chauvin: “Well, get up and get in the car, man!”

Floyd: “I can’t move!”

Chauvin repeats the command. 

Floyd: “Mama— I can’t.”

Floyd says he can’t breathe once more, and then again, repeating himself until his body goes limp. 

I meant to write this post days ago, but couldn’t. Each passing day brought a new chance to fool myself into thinking I’d be strong enough to watch the full video of George Floyd’s murder. I wasn’t, and I still haven’t. But I tried again today anyway. 

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Faces: Friends

Quarantine 2020 has surely given many of us a handful of time. Pre-chaos, I often complained about not having sufficient time to focus on my photography… and now, with this rare abundance, I have dedicated myself to organize, edit, store, and publish. I present to you, a photoshoot from 2018.

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